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Thomas Talks… minutes in legs and a missed opportunity

Report from the post-match written press conference after cup exit

23 December 2021

Brentford were knocked out of the Carabao Cup at the Quarter Final stage by Chelsea last night. The visitors booked a spot in the last four on a cold night thanks to two goals inside the final 15 minutes, an own goal from Pontus Jansson and a penalty from Jorginho. After the game, Thomas Frank spoke to the written press via a video call. Jim Levack, who has covered Brentford for many years for Press Association, among others, reports on what Thomas had to say..........

Perfect first half

“I think we played a better first half this time than we did last time [when we lost 1-0 Chelsea in the Premier League in October]. It went to the game plan because we gave nothing away, were very good in the low block and they couldn't find a solution. They had one chance and we had by far the biggest chances of the game for Yoane Wissa, Matthias Jensen and a very good one for Rico Henry. So, first half tick, well done and we should definitely be in front.”

Second half struggle

“After the break we struggled to create something on the counter and in open play. We also definitely didn’t nail the set pieces, which we were very strong on last time, but again we defended well and gave nothing away until the 80th minute where we needed to do a tiny bit better on the side and with the clearance in the box.”

Minutes in legs

“That was a big positive. Firstly, we really wanted to win but the second thing was that we badly wanted to play this game to get the players up to speed, and now we'll be fine for Brighton. With everything that happened in terms of two postponed games and the training ground shut for six days, that means something when you can't train with continuity, so we really needed (this game) to keep going and get that little bit of sharpness back.”

Rico the rock

“He came off because his hamstring got a little tight, so I didn't want to take any chance. Having six days off training means something to the system and it’s a big shock to play 90 minutes of high intensity football with minimum training. That’s why it's so important the players are playing and playing or training and training.

"Rico is very strong. There was a spell where he scored the two goals and he was in a very good place for us. Recently he’s been fine, but he took it to another level against Chelsea. He’s a key player for us and he should be fine for Brighton by the way.”

Pontus’ pride dented

“Of course, I need to see it (the own goal) again, but I think Pontus has played a fantastic season. He, of course, will blame himself for that one. I think it could have been avoidable and then there was the penalty, so two minor mistakes gave them the two goals and that was the difference.”

Bench boost

“Chelsea are the European champions and third in the league. They have world class players. They started with Saúl – who cost three times the money we used on one of our signings this summer – and he can't even get a sniff in the team.”

A missed opportunity

“I'm disappointed because I think we missed an opportunity against a top side. I went with the strongest side I possibly could given the COVID situation and also made the subs to make it stronger during the game, so it feels like a missed opportunity.”

Defining moments

“We had great chances and should have scored. Then the second half until the 80th minute nothing and it look like a 0-0 game but in these games against top teams it’s the small bits that define the game, and we didn't have the margins going our way.”

Ivan returns

“He didn’t start because we just needed to ease him into it after his enforced absence with COVID.”

Kante the difference

“If you look at the team they finished the game with, there's probably 14 managers or more that will be very pleased with that team in the Premier League, so maybe that’s the difference. It’s the small, small things that change this game, because it’s a random game. Not even half a yard quicker and maybe Pontus can turn and maybe clear it better and then it’s a different game. Then we never know what’s going to happen. It's not like they had chance after chance.”

Matthias’ slow start and Mads Bech’s back

“Matty started a little bit slow but then we saw some of the passes he’s so capable of… that pass to Rico was amazing for the chance. Mads Bech look like he’d played the last ten games, he looked very sharp and surprisingly strong as he hasn’t played since August.

"He played 60 minutes for the B Team the other day and he just looked very impressive which is good for us because we need him with Charlie Goode out with a hamstring injury and Zanka and Kristoffer [Ajer] still not ready.”

Taking chances

“That’s the difference today. If we go 1-0 up you never know what's going to happen in the rest of the game, but it will mean something. There was a clear picture throughout the game that they didn't create anything, and the two chances were minor mistakes – an own goal and a penalty where the player is running away from goal. So two minor mistakes. That's it.”

More good news

“Josh Dasilva’s recovery is going better and better. He’s moving so we’re very pleased to see that he's going in the right direction although it’s still too early to put a date on when he could potentially return.”


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